Reviewed by: Heather Kezer
Nursing is one of the most physical and emotionally demanding professions. While you are taking care of others, oftentimes your personal well-being is pushed to the back burner. This can lead to exhaustion, anxiety and depression, stress, and eventually burnout.
Wellness for nurses is essential to prevent burnout and other health related problems that can arise from healthcare workers not being taken care of or not taking care of themselves. In this blog, we will discuss the major influences that are affecting nurses and how you can maintain your own well-being as a nurse.
What are the major influences on the well-being of nurses?
In a year like no other, the level of stress and fatigue brought upon health care heroes has been unprecedented. There are several influences that are impacting the well-being of our nursing staff.
A high-stress work environment is almost a given when you think about the nursing profession. However, there are several specialties that can bring a higher level of stress than others. As a travel nurse, you have the ability to try every specialty and find the perfect fit for you. There are also various specialties and types of travel nurses, offering something for everyone. Traveling is always a challenge and for a traveling nurse, this can create new worries and a higher level of stress. To prevent this, take a look at our 4 Ways to Reduce Stress While Traveling as a Nurse.
Long shifts and a larger number of patients bring an additional amount of physical fatigue. It is common for nurses to work a 10 to 13-hour shift. This can lead to lack of sleep which is imperative to patient care. This is very common in the healthcare industry and can be one of the leading influences that impact a nurse’s well-being. Ensuring wellness in nurses is encouraged and can promote the physical health of the nursing staff and other healthcare workers as well.
Finally, staffing levels fluctuate, and when there is a high patient census and a lower number of staff, the impact is on the well-being of all nurses. However, there is good news for nurses and facilities coming from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, they have projected a 12% growth rate of employed registered nurses across the next five years.
How do you maintain your own physical and mental well-being as a nurse?
With all of this said, it is important now more than ever for you to take care of your well-being! Here are some ideas on how you can take care of yourself.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can be an outlet for many individuals and can help improve both your physical and mental well-being. Some of the benefits that exercising regularly can provide include having more energy, sharpening your memory and thinking, boosting your self-esteem, and improving sleep. Even just a short walk can go a long way when it comes to improving your overall well-being.
- Eat healthily: A concept that seems very simple is also very important while working a long shift. Although shifts can be long and busy it is imperative that you take time for yourself and to ensure you are not skipping a meal. Preparing your food prior to shift can help save time during your lunch break and ensure you are getting the proper nutrients. Start staying hydrated and limiting your caffeine, no matter how fatigued you may be.
- Focus on better communication: Communicating with your supervisors and loved ones and letting them know you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed is the first step in putting yourself first. Communicating that you need a break or a mental health day is a key in nurse wellness and can help prevent nurse burnout.
- Take scheduled breaks: Ways to relieve stress during a break as a nurse can include taking a walk outside, listening to music, or reading a book. Allowing for your mind to unwind during a stressful shift can be beneficial for you and your patients.
- Start a Gratitude Journal: Start writing all of the things you are grateful for. Journaling can give you a new perspective on the things that are happening around you. This can be your outlet to write anything that is important to you, it is for your eyes only and on the days you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you can read through your journal and remember all of the good.
- Take notes from others: In the decade of social media and influencers, looking to other nurses in your position can bring comfort and ideas on different ways to improve your well-being. Here are some Nurse influencers that you can follow:
Are there programs available for nurses and healthcare professionals?
Sometimes hospitals and workplaces offer a workplace wellness program to promote nurse wellness as well. This is a great opportunity for employees, future nurses, or nursing students to feel like they are being heard and taken care of in a busy, sometimes draining, and exhausting profession.
After recent events with the pandemic and the demand it brought upon nurses and healthcare professionals, nationwide programs and initiatives have been launched to provide care for healthcare workers and encourage and promote their well-being. One is the Well-being Initiative launched by the American Nurses Foundation to help nurses be resilient during such times and take steps in managing nurse stress and trauma from COVID-19.
Incorporating Wellness into Your Routine
Focusing on your well-being needs to be a priority in your daily routine. Ensuring that you are taken care of is beneficial for you and your patients’ care. Keeping things running smoothly starts with your well-being as a nurse. After all, your job is to look out for others’ wellness, so you should be looking out for yours just as much. Nurses’ health and wellbeing are just as important as the patients’. This can be as simple as taking a much-needed break during a long, busy shift or exercising regularly and eating healthy to prevent any health risks that can come about from burnout. Also, take advantage of programs that are available to nurses and healthcare professionals that aid in stress management and promote overall well-being.
“Nurse First,” is what we focus on at MAS. We want to ensure that our nurses feel supported first and foremost. Our recruiters work alongside professionals to find the perfect travel or per diem assignment for their specific needs.
If you are interested in learning more about our open healthcare jobs and nurse-first approach, reach out to a MAS recruiter today!
Heather Kezer, Nurse Recruiter- Heather has been with the company for almost 2 years and in the healthcare industry for over fourteen. She lives in the state of New Hampshire with her loving husband and their four amazing children. Outside of work, her family loves spending their time together going to the beach, lakes, and attending fun activities.